Wednesday, 27 June 2012

10. Launching of the Epic.

     After finishing the Epic satisfactorily, Sage Valmiki, with his eyes closed, was thinking as to how to make this known to the world....who will render this ballad...
     He suddenly felt something on his feet.  He opened his eyes and looked down.  He saw the lovely kids Lava and Kusha, who were in the attire of hermits, touching his feet.  Glorious Kusha and Lava were the virtue knowing princes, and they were endowed with melodious voice, besides being the residents of the same hermitage.  They  were saluting at his feet.  On seeing that pair of intellectuals who were proficient in Veda-s, sage Valmiki made his decision.  These two were the very persons to memorize the epic, as the epic Ramayana was composed only to reinforce the import of Veda-s, as an ancillary.                   
     The two princes memorized the best, amazing, awesome, sublime, stunning and wonderful epic in its entirety and in doing so, they rendered that epic faultlessly.  They sang the epic as schooled, well aware of its content and intent, among the assemblages of audiences like sages, scholars and also of other eminent persons, with their best concentration.
     They were conversant with the art of music too and proficient with the pitch and pausing their voices.  The two brothers had not only a wealthy voice, but they also looked like celestial singers.
     Those two kids were endowed with musical talent with all its remarkable features, sang this epic, standing in the midst of gatherings of sages, pious souls etc.... On hearing that, the eyes of all were overspread with tears of happiness, and they appreciated saying, 'splendid, splendid is this...' All those saints being the saint-patrons of virtue were pleased at heart, and praised the praiseworthy Kusha and Lava, while they were singing.
     The two were singing the epic everywhere on the streets of Ayodhya and their fame spread like a wildfire.  On one such occasions the king himself saw them.  The king was none other than Rama, our hero.
     Rama wanted the two kids to sing the epic at his palace.  The lads agreed and went to the palace.
     At the palace the king Rama was sitting on a divine golden throne surrounded by his ministers, and his brothers sitting nearby him.  Having seen the mannerly young brothers endowed with beautiful features, Rama spoke to his brothers Lakshmana, Shatrughna and Bharata and to the courtiers "Let this ballad be keenly heard from these divinely resplendent brothers, for it contains versatile words and meanings..."  This was said by the king to motivate the singers.  He then added "These two saint-like Kusha and Lava, who also possess kingly features, but they are great hermits... this narration is endowing good fortune to me also, listen to that great efficacious legend [of Seetha...]"
     The two two singers started the ballad melodiously and effectually, with their clear and clarified voices, like the melody of string and rhythmic instruments, with very clear and meaningful intonation.
     What they sang will be narrated in prose (in the present day spoken English, of course) from the next chapter and onwards.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

9. Scheming and creation of the Epic.

     Sage Valmiki had already heard the essence of Ramayana from Sage Narada.  He started searching for further known details in the legend of that dexterous Rama.  After cleaning himself, Valmiki sitting on a sacred grass mat, whose apices are towards east, touched waters, and made his palms adjoined in reverence, and then by his yogic insight started to search comprehensively, for the narrative course of Ramayana.
     Comment: Touching/sipping waters for aachamana, pariSechana , before undertaking any auspicious work, including daily meal, is customary, because water cleanses the internal system, both mind and body.
     He started seeing things mentally like a TV Serial (without any commercial breaks).  He saw the entire Ramayana with every minute details.
     The great godly saint Valmiki then composed Ramayana, wording admirably and meaningfully.  Sage Valmiki said Ramayana in twenty four thousand verses, in six hundred chapters, in six books, likewise an end-piece too.
     Valmiki named it as the 'Legend of Seetha' sithaayaH charitam mahaan.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

8. The very beginning.

Note.: When I started writing Ramayanam, I had no intention of writing Valmiki Ramayanam.  I started to adhere to it from chapter 5.  Please see my Note in the beginning of that chapter.  In Valmiki Ramayanam, there are interesting stories, anecdotes and incidents prior to Chapter "1. The Beginning".  I am therefore, incorporating them now.  After covering all, I will continue the story after Chapter 7.
End Note.

कूजन्थं राम रमेथि मदुरं मद्सुरक्षरं|
आरूह्य कविथ शाखां वन्दे वाल्मीकि कोकिलम||
     Sage Valmiki was wondering whether there was a man, perfect in all respects like most virtuous and with perfect physique, a perfect son, brother, husband, friend etc. etc.
     Divine sage Narada arrived at the hermitage of Sage Valmiki in order to enlighten him and keep him informed of his duty to author the epic poem Ramayanam.
     The Divine Sage Narada is the brainchild of god Brahma 'brahma maanasa putra'.  His name has meanings like naara =knowledge; da= awarder; naarada= the rain cloud.  Any cloud rains on its own without any requisition from Mother Earth.  So Narada is 'naaram dadaati iti naarada' i.e. 'one who accords knowledge concerning the humans...' or, naaram dyati - khaNdati - iti naarada 'one who annihilates the ignorance...' or, 'one who accords knowledge about the Absolute, or Supreme Person.
     Sage Valmiki asked him about the perfect human despite the fact that he knew about Rama.  Sage Narada thought that he cannot tell Valmiki that Rama was God Vishnu because there were very numerous mythologies, puraaNa-s, that have already adored God Vishnu.  If Narada told him that Rama was so-and-so king, again Valmiki might not attempt to author about some king, however great that king might be.  As Valmiki wanted to know about a human being with godly attributes, and because many acts of Rama, like killing Vali, testing Seetha's chastity, deserting her at the end etc. were both conducive and contradictory puzzles. Narada, after giving the matter a very careful thought said "Oh! Sage Valmiki, the merits which you have extolled are many, and unattainable even for great emperors, let alone ordinary humans, and also infinite are they... but, about such a man with such merits I will speak on... for I, having known from Brahma of such a man, will make clear about that man..."  Sage Narada gave a gist of Ramayana to Sage-poet Valmiki.  That version of Ramayana is known as 'samkshepa raaamayana'.  It is also known as 'bala raamaayana'.
     I am not giving that here.
    On hearing that, Valmiki thanked very effusively Sage Narada.  Narada then left, feeling very confident that the Sage Valmiki would start authoring the epic Ramayana.
    After the departure of Narada, Valmiki, along with his disciples, went to the banks of the river Tamasa.  There he went near the water of the river.  Looking at the stream, Valmiki said to his disciple who was near to him, "Oh! Bharadwaja, Look, how clear is this water, like the mind of a good man!  I will bathe here today."  When he was looking for a suitable place to step into the stream, he saw a Crane (bird) couple mating.  Valmiki felt very pleased on seeing the happy birds.  Suddenly, hit by an arrow the male bird died on the spot.  Filled by sorrow its mate screamed in agony and died of shock.  Valmiki's heart melted at this pitiful sight.  He looked around to find out who had killed the bird.  He saw a hunter with a bow and arrows, nearby.  Valmiki became very angry.  His lips opened and he uttered the following words:
              मां निषाद प्रतिष्ठां त्वमगमः शाश्वतीः समाः।
              यत्क्रौंचमिथुनादेकम् अवधीः काममोहितम्॥'
    mā niṣāda pratiṣṭhāṁ tvamagamaḥ śāśvatīḥ samāḥ
    yat krauñchamithunādekam avadhīḥ kāmamohitam
    You will find no rest for the long years of Eternity
    For you killed a bird in love and unsuspecting.
     Emerging spontaneously from his rage and grief,  this was said to be the first śloka in Sanskrit literature.  Later Valmiki composed the entire Ramayana with the blessings of Lord Brahma in the same meter that issued forth from him as the śloka.  Thus this śloka is revered as the "first śloka" in Hindu literature.  Valmiki is revered as the first poet, or Adi Kavi, and the Ramayanam, the first kavya.
     It would be interesting to know that Sage Valmiki did not intent to be so harsh with the hunter; the words seemed to have come out of their own volition!  After saying the above sloka, the sage pondered for a while in his heart, 'annoyed by the anguish for that bird, what is it uttered by me...'.   He became cogitative of those lines uttered.  On thinking, he that eminently astute and intellectual sage made up his mind, spoke to his disciples  "This utterance of mine has emerged out of anguished annoyance, and it is well- arranged with letters metrically posited, tuneful and rhythmical to be sung with string instrument, and hence, this shall be a verse, not otherwise...".
     Valmiki and his disciples then finished their bathe and after the usual chores after bath returned to the hermitage of Valmiki.  He taught his disciples that day's teaching, but he himself was preoccupied in cogitation on the verse.  He then had a surprise visitor.  Lord Brahma himself came to see Valmiki!  Let us skip how Valmiki received Brahma and how Lord Brahma reacted.  Let us say that after the usual greetings and blessings etc. they got down to brass tacks.  Seated before Lord Brahma, Valmiki was remaining in a melancholic mood.  He could not help thinking again and again about the verse he uttered involuntarily.  Then, Brahma smilingly spoke to that eminent saint Valmiki, "But, what that is composed is a verse only... and there is no need to think through....
      "Oh, Brahman, that verse you uttered was at my wish only.  I desire that you render the legend of Rama, in its entirety... you shall narrate the legend of Rama, the virtuous, intellectual and an intrepid one, and a godlike person in this world as well, as you have heard it from sage Narada.
     "The adventures of valorous Rama along with Lakshmana, and the misadventures of demons, known or unknown in every detail, and even the plight of Vaidehi which is either revealed or un-revealed so far, and whatever legend that has happened, all that will also be known to you, even if it were to be unknown, as yet... you shall versify the heart pleasing and merit-yielding legend of Rama, and not a single word of yours will be unfounded in this epic...
     "As long as the mountains and even rivers flourish on the surface of the earth, so long the legend of Ramayana will flourish in this world... and as long as Rama's legend authored by you flourishes...till then you will flourish in heavenly, in netherworlds, and even in my abode, namely Abode of Brahma..."
     After saying the above, Brahma vanished.
     Then all the disciples of Valmiki sang this verse time and again very delightedly, and much astonished they also recited this verse, reciprocally.
     Equally lettered, four-footed is that verse when great Sage Valmiki articulated it, and when repetitively recited by one and all, it attained prominence as a verse proper.
      Sage Valmiki then decided to compose one of our great epics, Ramayana.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

7. Legend of River Ganga.

       Early next morning Viswamitra and all others, including the two princes got up and after finishing their morning chores resumed their journey.  About mid-day they reached the river Ganga, the prominent one among rivers and the one adored by sages.  They sojourned on the river bank.  In the evening after finishing all the religious chores required to be performed by all Hindus on reaching the river Ganga, and after dinner, all sat before Viswamitra in the same manner as disciples sit before a teacher.  Rama expressed his desire to know all about the great river Ganga.
     Viswamitra nodded and said "Oh! Prince of Princes! The story, I should say the legend, of the great river Ganga is very interesting.  The lord of mountains Himavan who is the greatest treasure trove of minerals, also treasures up a pair of extremely beautiful daughters.  His slender-waisted and fascinating wife Mena is the daughter of Mt. Meru.  The elder daughter of Himavan is Ganga.  The other one is Uma.  As Ganga was destined to become a great river to flow in all the three worlds, the Devas requested Himavan to spare her to live in their land and Himavan agreed to it.  However, Ganga's flow was at her own volition.  The flow of Ganga in Heaven is called Akash Ganga or Deva Ganga.
     "The other daughter got married to Lord Rudra.  After getting married to Uma, Lord Shiva fell more madly in love with her and started making love with her for over a hundred divine years.  However, there was no sign of a baby.
     "Lord Brahma and other gods started thinking and got worried as to who can inevitably sustain the offspring which emerges from goddess Uma after this prolonged yogic act of copulation with Shiva.
     "All of them went to Lord Shiva and told him that no world was capable of bearing his offspring, and therefore prayed that He may not bring an offspring through Goddess Uma.  Bhagwan Shiva said 'Okay! I can contain my sperm in my virility and Uma in hers.   But that part which has already been stirred up from its place is not restrainable.  Suggest what can be done with that.'
     "Brahma, in consultation with others suggested that the same may be deposited on Earth.  Lord Shiva agreed and did so.  At the same time Brahma and other gods directed Agni (God for Fire) and Vayu (God for Air) to enter the Great Potence of Lord Rudra.  The reason was they were afraid that the Great Potence of Lord Rudra would annihilate the earth and earthlings, and Agni together with Vayu can consume anything.  As directed, Agni, aided by Vayu, took the seed of Lord Rudra.  (The combination of the three resulted the emergence of the highly brilliant Kumara.)
     "Unfortunately Goddess Uma was not amused, as she was deprived of a son she very much wanted to have.  She cursed the Devas that they would not have any child through their wives; and all their wives would become infertile from that moment.  She was angry with the Earth, too, as she (Earth) received the seed of Lord Shiva.  She cursed the Earth that her appearance would become bizarre and she would be a wife to many.  Also she shall have no gratification caused by the children, because she deprived Goddess Uma a son.
      [Because of this, celestials do not (and cannot) directly breed.  They have to depend on humans or other mortals to bring forth their offspring(s) as in the case of the monkey race.  Shakuntala born to Menaka and Vishwamitra, giving birth to Bharata, is another example.  Much later Pancha Pandavas, too.
      The sin of earth to bear the curse of Goddess Uma was to accept the semen of Shiva on her surface.  As a matter of fact it was forced on her.  Due to this curse, the appearance of earth became multifaceted; it has lands and oceans, deserts and forests, volcanoes and mountains, ice and humidity, etc.  Further, the earth is the official wife to numerous kings. The earth was also cursed not to have the delight of her children. The earth had Naraka, the demon, and Seetha as her children.  But these two were not begotten through any seminal contact by earth, and further, for earth it was as good as not having these two as her children, for such was the plight of these two so-called children of earth on earth.   After many tumults in her life, even Seetha asked her mother on earth, i.e., mother earth herself, to take her back into her womb.]
     "Bhagwan Shiva was completely nonplussed and at a loss for words for his consort Uma as well as for the gods.  He, followed by Goddess Uma, went to the northern part of Himalayas and started tapas on the peak of a mountain there.
     "At the same time, Devas badly needed a commander-in-Chief for their army to fight their enemies viz. Asuras.  They, therefore approached Lord Brahma for guidance.  Lord Brahma told them 'The seed of Lord Shiva is now inside Agni.                                            Now Agni is to deposit the same into a very suitable lady.  Now with reference to the curse of Goddess Uma your wives cannot procreate.  The best woman for that is none other than the empyreal Ganga.  I am sure that the elder daughter of the King of Mountains, namely Ganga, will graciously welcome the offspring from Agni (Fire-god).  I am also sure that  the act of Ganga in welcoming the offspring through Agni will also be acceptable in many ways to the younger daughter of the King of Mountains, namely Uma.'
     "As directed, Agni approached Ganga and conveyed the wishes of Devas.  Ganga agreed without any demur.  Agni then transferred the seed of Lord Shiva to her.  At the end of the process, Ganga cried 'OOH!  I could not bear the fire of god Shiva compounded with that of yours.'  Seeing the misery of Ganga, Agni suggested that she lay away that embryo at the side of Himalayan Mountains.  She did so.
     "The refulgent embryo with the glitter of molten gold emerged from River Ganga had reached earth, and from that silver and even gold with its matchless dazzle had emerged.  In that process, copper and iron were also generated from that combustion of fires of Shiva and Agni, and the residua had become tin and lead, and thus that embryo on reaching the earth had evolved itself into various other elements also.
     "But, just when that embryo was laid down on Himalayan mountains, the entire reed-garden sprouted on that mountain was made brilliant by that glittering embryo and the reed-garden itself became golden.  From then onwards gold with its brilliance equalling that of Agni, is renowned by the name of jaata ruupa, one that retains its birth-time form. Everything on the mountain, like grass, trees, climbers,  shrubs etc. turned golden.
      "Then for the baby who took birth from the embryo and deposited in Himalayas, Vayu along with Indra had arranged Krittika stars to simultaneously suckle him.  Gods called that boy, whose glow was like that of flaring fire and who was ambidextrous, 'Skanda' for he slid down from the secretions of a womb.  Every Krittika star wanted that 'this boy shall be the son for all of us,' and all of them tried to suckle the just born baby at the same time.  The baby then became a six-headed one and sucked milk from all the Krittika stars simultaneously.  All the gods then said that, 'this boy will be renowned in all the three worlds as Kaarthikeya, as Krittika-stars have suckled him.'
      "On sipping the milk just for one day the baby became an adolescent boy on that day itself.  All the celestials then came together under the leadership of Agni and made the boy the Chief of Celestial Army troops."
                           योगीश्वरो महासेनः कार्तिकेयोऽग्निनंदनः ।
                          स्कंदः कुमारः सेनानीः स्वामी शंकरसंभवः ॥॥
     Viswamitra continued "My dear Prince Rama, now let me tell you the next phase of the legend of Ganga.
     "One of your ancestors was King Sagara.  He did not have any issue for a long time despite the fact that he had two wives.  The elder one was Keshini who was the daughter of the king of Vidarbha.  The second wife's name was Sumati.  She was the daughter of Arishtanemi, namely sage Kashyapa, and who was also the sister of Garuda, the Divine-Eagle-vehicle of Vishnu.  He, therefore, went, with both his wives to the mount Brugu-prsravana, which is one of the many mounts of Himalaya mountains and started a tapas for progeny.  After a hundred years, Sage Bhrugu appeared before them and told the King Sagara that one of his wives will get one son who would enrich his (i.e. King Sagara's) dynasty and the other sixtythousand.
      "Both the wives were curious to know who would get one and who would get sixtythousand.  The sage gave them the choice.  Queen Keshini chose one son and the other, namely  Sumati was very happy to be the mother of sixtythousand sons.
     "In due course, the elder wife Keshini gave birth to a son who was named as Asamanja.  But the second queen Sumati verily delivered a round and long egg which was like a single gourd, and on breaking it up, sixty thousand sons were issued forth from that cucumber like egg.  The midwives brought up those siblings in vessels filled with ghee, the clarified butter, and after a protracted time all babies attained youthfulness.  After a long time the sixty thousand sons of king Sagara became youthful and handsome in all aspects.
     "Unfortunately and sadly for the king and the queen  Keshini, their son Asamanja turned out to be a sadist.  For instance whenever he got a chance, he would grab and hurl a child into the waters of River Sarayu, and clap and laugh on seeing him drowning.  He never missed a chance to hurt anyone.  King Sagara, therefore was constrained to banish him from the city.
     "Fortunately for the King and his first queen Keshini,  Asamanja's son, Anshuman was quite the opposite.  He was exactly what everyone wanted him to be. 
     "King Sagara decided to perform a Vedic Ritual involving the sacrifice of a horse.  The site chosen for the ritual was between the two very lofty mountain ranges Himalayas and Vindhyas.  The grandson of Sagara and the son of the exiled Asamanja, namely Amshuman, who was a top-class warrior, was chosen as the escort for the horse.
     "Indra did not like this Yaga to be performed.  On the most important day of the function called ukthyam, he stole the horse.  The religious teachers told the king that this was very inauspicious and advised him to take appropriate action  to find the horse, kill the person who stole it and bring it back.
     "The king called his 60K sons and told them to find the horse and get it back after killing the thief who stole it.  He added that he would stay put at the yaga site until they return with the horse.
     "The mighty 60K sons searched the entire earth's surface.  The horse was not anywhere on the surface of earth.  They then divided among themselves the surface of the whole earth and started digging.  Mother Earth resented this action very much.  They killed (as directed by their father) the serpents, asura-s, demons, and other beings living underneath the surface of earth.
     "Seeing the plight of the Earth, the highly distraught gods, gandharvas, reptiles etc.  approached Lord Brahma for a solution.  Lord Brahma consoled them by saying that that was destiny and Lord Vishnu, who was doing tapas in the underworld as Sage Kapila would burn the 60K sons to ashes.
     "The gods etc. accepted this and returned to their respective places.
     "The mighty 60K sons did not find the horse under the Earth.  They went back to their father and reported failure and asked for further course action in this matter.
     "After giving a good thought, the king told them to dig the Earth further until they find the horse.
     "The sons therefore resumed their digging.  On the eastern side they saw the huge elephant named Viruupaaksha, which was bearing the eastern side of earth's surface on its head.  Whenever the elephant Viruupaaksha moves his head (i.e. shift position due to tiresomeness) earth quakes occur.  The sons passed around the elephant in supplication without disturbing it in anyway.
     "Similarly they circumambulated Mahapadma bearing the southern side of the earth,  Sumanasa in western side, and even asking about its well-being, and Bhadra, a snow-white elephant with an auspicious body bearing northern side of this earth.  They went further on the northern side. They saw Lord Vasudeva in the form of sage Kapila there in the northeast, and oh, they also saw the ritual-horse moving nearby sage Kapila.  They erroneously concluded that the Sage was the one who stole the ritual-horse, and they furiously dashed towards him wielding crowbars, ploughs, and various trees and boulders, and shouting at him  'You the malicious one, so you are the one who has stolen our ritual-horse, and in fact, you should know that we who arrived here are the sons of Sagara.'  On hearing their shouts, sage Kapila became very angry and boomed a 'hum' sound at them.
     "Destiny took its toll in the form of HUM!  All the 60K sons of Sagara became heaps of ashes by the 'hum' sound."
     After a small rest Viswamitra continued "As his sons did not come back after a very long wait, King Sagara called his grandson Amshuman and told him 'My dear lad, you have completed your education in all respect which includes warfare.  Now, I want you to go in search of your 60K uncles.  I know that you are very brave and not less talented than your 60K uncles.  Something must have happened to them in the netherworlds of earth.  As the living beings in the netherworlds of earth are fearless, adventurous and are extraordinary too, you take your bow along with your sword to retaliate them in case they attack you.  Respect those who deserve respect  and eliminate those who try to cause you any problem.  I am sure that you will achieve your purpose of tracking the ritual-horse, and comeback safely with the horse.'
     "As directed by the King Sagara, prince Amshuman started fully armed.  He traced the path through which his 60K uncles went and followed the same.  He came across the four directional elephants.  As advised by his grandpa, he wished them and inquired about his 60K uncles.
     "None of the elephants told him where to find his uncles but predicted that he would surely find the horse and return to the place of yaga with that animal.  At last he found the mounds of ashes of his uncles.  He also noticed that the horse was grazing nearby.  He wanted to pay homage to his uncles and pray with water that all his uncles should go to heaven.  He started looking around for water.
     "He did not find any water, but saw Garuda.  I told you earlier that Gaurda, the divine eagle vehicle of Bhagwan Vishnu was the maternal uncle of his 60K uncles.
     "He told Amshuman 'The Imponderable sage, who was in fact lord Mahavishnu himself, burnt down your uncles.  It will not therefore, be apt for you to pray for them with mundane water.  You have to pray with the holy water of the river Ganga, the elder daughter of Himavan.   World purifier River Ganga will drift these uncles of yours, who are rendered as mounds of ashes, to heaven.  When she, who is much adored by all worlds drenches this ash, that River Ganga herself will lead the sixty-thousand sons of Sagara to heaven.  For now you may proceed from here with the horse to carry out the Vedic-ritual of your grandfather.'
     "Amshuman took the advice of Garuda and on reaching the yaga site told his grandfather all, including the advice of Garuda.
     "On hearing those unendurable and  horrifying words from Amshuman, the king Sagara firstly completed the Vedic-ritual before returning to his capital.  He, however, could not think of a way to get Ganga to the earth despite the fact that he ruled his kingdom for thirty thousand years before going to heaven.
     "As his natural heir was his grandson Amshuman, Amshuman was enthroned.  He, too could not find any way to get the river Ganga to the earth.  On becoming old, he enthroned his son Dileepa and went to the Himalayas for a Tapas to get Ganga to the earth.
     "Unfortunately he could not get the river Ganga to earth, but was rewarded for his tapas by getting a place in Heaven.
     "His son Dileepa proved himself as an excellent king, but he, too, could not find any way to get Ganga to earth.
     "King Dileepa died of illness.  He was succeeded by his son Bhageeratha.  King Bhageeratha established himself to be a self righteous and a very able king.  However, he was childless.  He was very determined to get the river Ganga to earth.  He ordered his able ministers to look after his kingdom during his absence, and went to Mt. Gokarna in Himalayas, for Tapas.  He did his tapas standing amid five-fires, upraising his hands, with a monthly sustenance (i.e. eating only once a month) and with his senses conquered.
     "A few thousand years passed away.  But he did not relent.  At last Lord Brahma appeared before him with the assemblages of gods and spoke to him 'My dear chap,  we are highly pleased with your Tapas.  Ask the boon you want.'
     "King Bhageeratha said 'Sir, I want two things.  The first and foremost is that Ganga should drench with her holy water the ashes of my great-grandfathers so that they can go to heaven.  Secondly, I want a male child as at present I have no child.'
     "Lord Brahma replied 'Dear Bhageeratha! this aspiration of yours is sublime.  You shall have a son.  As for your other boon there is some problem.  When Ganga comes to earth she will come with such a force that no one except God Shiva can sustain.  In fact, HE is to be commissioned for that purpose.'  Then Brahma vanished as usual with assemblages of gods.
     "Bhageeratha then thought for a while and launched one of the most powerful (ipso facto very difficult) Tapas to Lord Shiva.  He stood on the tip of his big-toes praying for the mercy of Lord Shiva for one year, while that tips of his big-toes pressurised the earth.  He was standing without any bodily movement, and with his hands upraised in prayer for a period of one year, sustaining himself on mere air.
     "On completion of one year, god Shiva appeared and told the king that He was  delighted with Bhageeratha's unwavering effort, and HE would fulfill his cherish.  HE further assured the King that HE would sustain Ganga, the daughter of the king of mountains, by HIS head.

     "Afterwards, she who is reverenced by all the worlds and who is the elder daughter of Himavanta, that Ganga assuming an unendurable form and an insupportable rapidity, they say, then plunged from the sky onto the auspicious head of Shiva.
     "She, that goddess Ganga even speculated saying to herself, 'I am going to whisk Shiva, too with my streams while I enter the netherworld.'  Discerning her egoistic arrogance, god Shiva smiled with an amusement, and decided  to teach her a lesson by tucking her up in the tufts of his head-hair.  River Ganga swooped down into the cavernous curls of matted hair-tufts on the holy head of God Shiva, and she was held up there.  Though she strove hard in one way or another to come out and reach the earth that Ganga was rendered incapable, as she could not gain access for an outlet from any edge of the coils of matted hair-tufts of Shiva; hence she was held there in durance vile.
     "Ganga's struggle continued for years.  Bhageeratha became desperate and started his Tapas again.  God Shiva was immensely pleased and released Ganga aiming at Bindu Lake in Himalayas.
     "While god Shiva released Ganga into Bindu Lake, seven streams emerged out of it.  Three cruised eastward which are known as Hlaadini, Paavani, and Nalini and another three viz. Sucakshu, Seetha, and the excellent river Sindhu streamed to the westward direction with their holy waters.
     "The seventh viz. Ganga followed Bhageeratha's chariot.   Thus Ganga came from heavens onto Shankara's head and from there onto the earth, and there on earth her waters flowing with a tumultuous sound preceding them.
    [The River Ganga is also called as tri patha gaa 'she courses in three ways...' of which one kind of thinking is that she flowed from Himalayas to heaven, from heaven to Shiva's head and from there to earth.  In the above context too, she is said to have the three-way-flow, i.e., one is eastward flow, second westward flow and the third is southward flow as led by Bhageeratha. The westward river Sindhu is the Indus and the eastward Nalini, which is now called as river Brahmaputra, while Ganga proper courses a little to south to move towards the ocean.]
     "Devas and Gandharvas assembled above to witness the grandsight.  Sometimes slow and sometimes fast, now sliding down and now jumping up, the river went on dancing behind Bhagiratha's chariot and the folks of heaven enjoyed the sight all the way.
     "With her arrogance, Ganga thoughtlessly inundated completely the yaga platform of one great sage Jahnu.  The sage became very angry and swallowed all the water of Ganga.  The Gods, devas, gandharvas etc. who were following the flow of the Ganga were totally astounded.  They worshiped the Sage, begged him to consider Ganga as his daughter and as such what she did was just a play with ones father; and no father would punish harshly his daughter.  In view of this they begged him to release Ganga.  Hearing these words, the sage Jahnu  released Ganga from both of his ears.  Therefore, Ganga became the daughter of sage Jahnu, and she is also renowned as Jahnavi, after the name of that sage.
     "There was no further hindrance or mishap and Ganga reached Patala through the ocean.  With the holy waters, Bhagiratha performed the funeral rites for his ancestors and secured for them their entry(pass) to heaven.
     "Lord Brahma appeared before Bhageeratha and congratulated him.  He added that Ganga would become his eldest daughter and hereafter she would remain renowned in the world with the name associated with his(i.e. King Bhageeratha's) deed of bringing her onto earth.  God Brahma further added 'Henceforth heavenly Ganga will be renowned as 'Triple-path-cruiser' and 'Bhaageerathi,' as well, and as this river is sanctifying three worlds, namely, svarga, bhuu and paataala loka-s, 'heaven, earth and netherworld' she will be remembered as the traveller on triple path.'
     "My dear princes, that is the legend of Ganga.  As it is now very late night let us all take rest."
     At these words of the Sage, all called it a day and went to sleep.